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Old 01-20-2014   #21
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
Originally Posted by T1112 View Post
How much space is there between your cooler and dry box? Do you come close to hitting your passenger when rowing? I have a 13ft boat and am converting my frame into a 2bay and it's tight so interested in your setup. Thanks.
My rower bay is about 20 inches. I have short legs. I've only rowed it solo, but my guess is that I wouldn't hit the passenger, especially if they were sitting on the front edge of the cooler. I'd imagine you'd be ok with a 13 footer.

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
Australian Aboriginal Proverb
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Old 01-20-2014   #22
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
I've R-2ed my 14' Sotar and my Dad's 12'8" Riken plenty of times, they are both pretty easy to navigate. I like his smallish 13 on most rivers, until space/ weight becomes an issue. His Riken turns into a slug much faster with added weight, but that is the only downside to a smaller raft. I'd like to get a 12-13 foot raft and dedicate it to paddle only and keep the frame on the Sotar. I'd love to try a Super Puma. If you are able, rent a few rafts and try them out. It's a great way to find out what you want. I used to be an inflatable kayaker only, but the 2 kids warranted a larger Duck.

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Old 01-21-2014   #23
TapStyx's Avatar
West Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 45
Give the mini-me a look for R2 or R3 as one option. Super easy to pack in and with a light packable frame it becomes pretty versatile even for some overnights.

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Old 01-21-2014   #24
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
Originally Posted by raft098adu View Post
I thought about the rowing frame, but had the feeling the rafts with the frames mostly needed trailers to transport. So if possible hoping to skip the trailer for the first year.

Not true.

I run 14 footers with a stern frame for day trips and I pack the boat into my subaru legacy (granted with the help of a cargo rack). I like the stern frame, leaves lotsa room for passengers/ coolers, gives me a better ride/ vantage point and it very small and light.

Sometimes it's just me and the gal, sometimes others.

When camping I attach a day frame I made for the front bay, scoot the stern seat/ frame up towards the middle-it is supported 7" up off the tubes with another "frame extension" I built. (allows my geometry to stay the same and hang storage under my seat) and behind me is a everything bag. All this and camping gear for 4 I can pack in the ole' suby as well.

I've seen people do the same as I have above except they let the stern frame just rest on the rear thwart (as opposed to my "Frame extension") but this requires too many tweaks to the frame to make work for me and I needed the under seat storage.

Some day I'll post pics
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Old 01-21-2014   #25
denver, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 139
Riverboat Works in Salida does frames for the Mini-me. If looking new, the Aire Tributary 9.5' is pretty reasonably priced. I think with a small rowing frame, it would be a great 2 person setup. I don't know how it rows, so I will leave for others to comment. It is a lot wider than the mini-me, and $400 cheaper. Sit on your cooler, have a little bench seat with maybe a small drop bag up front, and put your other gear in the back. Sure you could do some overnighters too, and would be a good gear boatto supplant a group of kayakers.
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Old 01-24-2014   #26
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
You and your lady will graduate from easy water very fast and soon you'll be trying class IV. If you're thinking Minime, go MiniMax. I've paddle one a fair bit and can't imagine going smaller. It is an easily packable small boat and rows like a dream with a 48" NRS frame and 8' oars. It is a flip machine however... the black bottom of that green boat loves to get views of the sky!

You'd be better off with at least a regular Puma or even bigger. Since R2ing and overnighting is your stated goal, I would aim for the 13' range. They are forgiving to R2, even if you can't make it down the tightest creeks, and they will still take enough gear for overnights. I would start with a basic modular frame like NRS that you can add to later. A seat and kick bar is all you need to get started. Despite how much people on this forum geek out over their trailers and their rowing frames calculated to the centimeter, you don't need to spend all that effort and money right now.
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Old 01-29-2014   #27
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
My spider is super convertable, r-2 to r-5 or slap on the frame to accommodate 2 fishermen and oarsman, strip the frame down and have a small gear boat for 2 on overnights or pull the floor out and have a 1-2 person cat-ish whitewater rig that is light and easy to load by yourself atop a car or van. Super puma is cool too but I like being able to go floorless in a mater of minutes. I should mention it doesn't roll up for sheet. Look for a good used boat with a frame and work with it. There's a bunch of pics in my profile and video in my sig of my different set ups.
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Old 01-29-2014   #28
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Keep in mind the amount of required gear for overnights on many rivers (groover, firepan, etc). If you really want to camp with your lady, I'd go in the 13 to 14 foot range. Our SD Puma R2s class III with ease, but could also support us for a week.
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Old 01-29-2014   #29
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 117
I was in a similar position (95% of the time just R-2) and ended up with an Airtight Inflatable Shredder. We figured that any time we really wanted to bring friends out, I know people with big rafts I can borrow (or I can rent one for $50). In the meantime I want a performance raft I can roll up into a carry-on bag to travel with.

Sometimes I wish I had a Mini-max but that is absolutely the biggest I'd go. Taking the Shredder down Bailey is the most fun I've ever had on a river!
Whitewater Map American Whitewater river info you can use.
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Old 01-29-2014   #30
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 727
For the most versatility, I'd consider the 14 foot raft. I can paddleboat and row Browns at under 300 cfs, it saw Cataract at 70K (got munched there, but not because of boat size…), a few trips down GC, and everything in between. Yes R-2 works fine, but 2 inexperienced paddlers may be a little undermanned.

I find the 12 foot and smaller boats to be a little lacking in gear capacity, but I also usually have two teenagers and/or SO in tow. Regs require toilet and firepan just about everywhere, and I'm inclined to make sure my guests are warm and comfortable, so I like the extra space afforded by the 14 footer.

For a little more adventurous rides, I acquired a 12 foot cataraft that is super fun in swift water and still allows for light duty camping, even with the aforementioned teenagers.

So no one boat is going to cover it all, but I've found the 14 footer to be the closest thing to it. It has a little larger tubes than the 13-13.5 foot boats, which you will appreciate on larger rivers. I live and do most of my boating on the Ark, and it really works well here. 16 feet is in my opinion too large for the ARK over the full season.

Plenty of other valid viewpoints in the thread, so good luck with your choice.

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